So here we are, almost a whole month into the new year and I'm willing to bet my favorite vanilla scented candle that a few of us have already fallen off the wagon and blown our New Year's resolutions. Am I right? Don't worry, you're not alone. It's very common, actually. But why?
Truth be told, I never fail at New Year's resolutions because... I never make any! That's a fact! I strongly believe that the pressure of starting fresh on January first, setting high standards for myself and committing to something for the next three-hundred and sixty-five days is straight up setting myself up for failure. I don't work that way, it's too much! I'm the kind of person that needs to have a plan. I can't just jump blindly into something and hope for the best. I'm too much of a control freak for that. I want to know what steps to take and why.
I didn't know this about myself for many, many years. But now that I've managed to crush a few very big goals of mine, both in business and my personal life, I think I've cracked the code. And I know that if I keep setting goals for myself and following these steps, I'll continue to accomplish more. And I believe that others like me who may feel a little lost, may simply need to see things a bit differently. If that's you and you need a starting point, here are 6 ways that I get myself going at any given point during the year.
First things first: How to choose a goal.
If you are having trouble deciding on a goal or simply can't think of something you need to work on, this will take a bit of soul-searching. Having no goals or direction is not uncommon. Most people go through stages in their lives (myself massively included) where they have no sense of direction and feel lost. Or perhaps you feel you have too many things to work on and don't know where to start. The key here is to prioritize. I always say if you can't find what motivates you, find what pisses you off. Find what frustrates you the most. For me that was my weight. I realized that although I was so lost and paralyzed by my sadness, grief and personal drama just a few years ago, I had to start somewhere. Then I'd go from there and work on other aspects of my life that needed attention. So I chose to work on my weight first. I made it my life mission and put everything I had into my fitness journey and it has paid off, tenfold! By working on my outside, I began to heal the inside, which began to give me more confidence to up the ante in so many other areas. I started to work harder on my marriage, my business and my networking. I began attracting my target clients, started this blog and began getting opportunities I'd only ever dreamed of. Doors began to slowly open for me and I confidently stepped in. And it all started with focusing on that very first goal and applying these steps:
1. Set One Big Goal And Small Related Goals
It's important to have the "big picture", sure, but it can often be so large and intimidating that most of us keep putting off the small steps that will get us there. I suggest making a few smaller goals that can be attained in less time. For example, let's say you decide that you want to save, say, 10k this year. Great! Decide on how much of your paycheck you'd have to put away every pay period in order to make that happen. But also decide that in exactly one month from that day, you will have put away X-amount in your savings account. This will not only hold you accountable to the smaller amount "due" in one month, but it is also a small enough goal that seems way less intimidating and much more approachable. The plan is to get you to that first month's goal, then repeat.
2. Write It Down
I always advice having that big, ultimate goal nice and vivid in your head. Visualize it. Say it out loud. Describe it in detail. Then write it down. All of it. Imagine what it will be like when you get there. What will it feel like? What will you look like? What will you do? Once you've gathered up the courage to actually say and write what you want, you'll realize that that was the hardest part. Admitting what we really desire out of life can be a daunting and scary task. But it will be a huge weight off your back, I promise. After you say it and see it on paper, taking the necessary steps required to get there will seem a lot more possible.
*Some people say you should tell someone about your goals for accountability. This is certainly an option and if you think it would help you, do it! But it's not for everyone nor is it crucial. I'm personally not the type of person that likes to tell people my plans and ambitions. It takes a lot out of me actually. It stresses me out when people know my business. I'm more of a "less talk, more action" kind of girl and I've done just fine for myself.
3. Start now
Don't wait for January first to do anything other than lounge around in a food coma or champagne hangover. I've never understood the notion of how New Year's angels are supposed to magically descend upon us and give us all the motivation, will power, discipline and ability to do things we haven't done all year.
What has worked for me personally is that, the moment I start to get a wave of motivation to do something, I jump on it. Motivation tends to wear off easily, so it's important to catch it while it's hot and get going. For example, if you get the urge to take up painting:
- go on Google and research classes in your area or head to the nearest crafts store to grab supplies.
- Decide what days and what amount of time you want to devote to your new endeavor.
- Set an ongoing alarm to remind you to do it
- Actually do it!
4. Discipline, Not Motivation
Discipline is doing the things you don't necessarily want to do simply because you have to do them. Anything worth doing or adapting to will take discipline. Nothing, no matter how fun or enjoyable it is at the beginning, stays fun and enjoyable every single day of your life forever. There will be days when you simply don't want to do them. You will be tired, things will come up, you'll get distracted, bored, lazy, etc., but the more you continue to repeat the steps, day after day, the closer you will be to your goal. Contrary to popular belief, motivation is not what you need long-term. Motivation is a temporary high and it does not last. Think of motivation as a one night stand and discipline as a husband or wife material. The one night stand might be fun, exciting, maybe even exhilarating. But it lacks depth. It wears off. It means nothing. Motivation won't root for you, support you, help you with dishes, kiss your forehead, be there when get sick or take you out to dinner. Discipline will. Discipline will carry you through when motivation exits. Invest in discipline.
5. Treat It Like A Job
Consistency is key! Whatever you're working on, whether it's a weight loss/fitness journey, saving money, reading more, journaling, calling your mom daily, etc., it must, MUST be treated as a job. You have to think of these steps/goals as if your life depended on them. As if you could not possibly put food on the table without doing them. Completing tasks that you set time aside for has to be top priority. Yes, you could get away with slacking off. You are an adult, after all. You are in control here and you can do, or not do, whatever the heck you want! But, if you are serious about developing that discipline we talked about, then you better start thinking of it as another job. Pay your dues, do the work and payment will come.
6. Have A Strong "Why"
When times get rough and you want to quit, you'll need a strong "why" to fall back on. A reason to push through. Something you can think about that will remind you why you started, why you want this, why it's important. With anything worth following through on, there should be a good reason why you're doing it. It can be as simple, as complex or as shallow as you'd like. It doesn't matter to me. But it needs be important TO YOU. To look better in your jeans? To have more confidence? To be less stressed about cash? To make yourself proud? To prove someone wrong? To stick it to your ex? Whatever it is, it has to be something you can come back to when times get tough and you start to slack off.
Remember that no success is an overnight success. It takes time, patience and above all, consistency. You don't have to be perfect, life happens. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up. As long as you keep pushing, keep coming back and keep picking up where you left off, there will be progress. Begin as many times as you need at any given point. Prove yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. You've heard it a million times before, now it's time to make your move.
I think that covers it, let me know if I missed anything and good luck on your journey to a goal-crushing new you! You're gonna kill it!
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